Utilitarianism And Kantian Ethics Essay

1178 words - 5 pages


Utilitarianism and Kantian Ethics

     Ethics is one part of philosophy that will always be studied, and like most subjects in philosophy, will never be viewed the same by everyone. There are so many cultures that have so many different beliefs about the way a person's life should be lived out. Things like religion, poverty, and mental health all contribute to our beliefs in ethics. Some people believe that the mental state of a person or the motive for that person committing a crime should be factors when sentencing time comes. Others think that no matter the situation, a crime is a crime, and no compassion should be felt for the guilty. In the studies of philosophy these beliefs are put into two categories: utilitarian, witch would give leeway to the guilty depending on the circumstances, and Kantian, were a crime is a crime, no matter the motives involved.

      John Stuart Mill (1808-73) believed in an ethical theory known as utilitarianism. There are many formulations of this theory. One which is, "Everyone should act in such a way to bring the largest possibly balance of good over evil for everyone involved." However, good is a relative term. Utilitarians disagreed on what good really is. Mill made a distinction between happiness and sheer sensual pleasure. He defines happiness in terms of higher order pleasure (i.e. social enjoyments). In his Utilitarianism (1861), Mill described this principle as follows: According to the Greatest Happiness Principle … The ultimate end, end, in reference to and for the sake of all other things that are desirable, (whether we are considering our own good or that of other people), is an existence exempt as far as possible from pain, and is rich in enjoyments. Therefore, based on this statement, three ideas may be identified: (1) The goodness of an act may be determined by the consequences of that act. (2) Consequences are determined by the amount of happiness or unhappiness caused. (3) A "good" man is one who considers the other man's pleasure (or pain) as equally as his own. Each person's happiness is equally important. Mill believed that a free act is not an undetermined act. It is determined by the unconstrained choice of the person performing the act. Either external or internal forces compel an unfree act. Mill also determined that every situation depends on how you address the situation and that you are only responsible for your feelings and actions. You decide how you feel about what you think you saw.

     .Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) had an interesting ethical system. It is based on a belief that reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. A moral act is an act done for the "right" reasons....

Find Another Essay On Utilitarianism And Kantian Ethics

Utilitarianism vs. Kantianism Essay

1395 words - 6 pages Utilitarianism vs. Kantianism Ethics can be defined as "the conscious reflection on our moral beliefs with the aim of improving, extending or refining those beliefs in some way." (Dodds, Lecture 2) Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism are two theories that attempt to answer the ethical nature of human beings. This paper will attempt to explain how and why Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism differ as well as discuss why I believe

Utilitarianism V. Kantianism Essay

1360 words - 5 pages Ethics can be defined as "the conscious reflection on our moral beliefs with the aim of improving, extending or refining those beliefs in some way." (Dodds, Lecture 2) Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism are two theories that attempt to answer the ethical nature of human beings. This paper will attempt to explain how and why Kantian moral theory and Utilitarianism differ as well as discuss why I believe Kant's theory provides a more

Understanding Ethic concept-----the teleological and deontological theory

1400 words - 6 pages guides action. Kantian ethics has a more restricted scope than Utilitarianism. It may seem a great limitation of Kantian ethics that it concentrates on intentions to the neglect of results. It might seem that all conscientious Kantians have to do is to make sure that they never intend to use others as mere means, and that they sometimes intend to foster other's ends. It is easy to be unjust, for example, result in the case of bribery.ConclusionA

A Critique of the Categorical imperative

1890 words - 8 pages arrive at a pure and uncolored moral judgement, circumstances are irrelevant regardless of how extenuating they may be. This is where Kantian ethics or more specifically the concept of the categorical imperative is challenged. Opponents of Kantian ethics hold the view that human beings are social creatures who are always interacting with the environments they exist in, this interaction is extremely important as it leads to decisions we make. To

Business Theory Comparison

717 words - 3 pages act voids Desert Theory. 4. Stockholder theory revolves around pleasing one stakeholder, the stockholders; Stakeholder Theory broadens up that view to try and please all of the stakeholders. The Ben and Jerry's company was a good example of Stakeholder Theory as they kept the pay differences between the CEO and lowest paid worker to only ten fold. Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics Theory can be used to support Stakeholder Theory. 5. What is more

Ethics: The Human Imperfection of Greed

993 words - 4 pages Immanuel Kant. John Stuart Mill’s theories about Utilitarianism can be described as; actions are morally justified or morally unjustified according to the amount of good and evil they can be expected to bring into the world by their performance (Cohen, 2000, p. 22). I agree with John Stuart Mill in his utilitarian approach to ethics in other topics but I do not feel it is the best solution in a business or financial environment. My reasoning

A philosphical essay on Utilitarianism.

660 words - 3 pages Utilitarianism is a way of looking at ethics, it focuses on trying to ensure the maximum happiness in many different ways. There are many different forms of utilitarianism, the four I will discuss are act, rule, naive and preference utilitarianism.Rule utilitarianism tries to give the greatest overall benefit to society, the best rule/law of conduct is found and everyone is found an a rule utilitarian will follow it. However, this can cause

Is Feminism a Harmful Ideology

1990 words - 8 pages , according to certain sets of values. The following moral theories are components of normative ethics. Application of moral theories to "Feminism and Freedom" Act Utilitarianism: Act utilitarianism judges the morality of an act according to how much utility it produces. In this case, utility refers to an end or consequence. A morally sound act has utility, meaning that its end is a positive one. The act that produces the most

Immanuel Kant

1773 words - 7 pages of the Kantian ethics and the most significant contrast to utilitarianism, according to Kant, is the ethics of duty in which normative judgments are made on the basis of the character of the action rather than its consequences. According to the Kantian ethics, people have the duty to act in certain ways even if it does not produce the best results. "The ethics of duty is rooted in Immanuel Kant's categorical imperative `Act only on that

Immanuel Kant's Ethics Of Pure Duty and John Stuart Mill's Utilitarian Ethics Of Justice

2730 words - 11 pages opinion as presented in the book, "Utilitarianism" that is seemingly in contention with the thoughts of Kant. What is most distinctive about the ethics of morality is the idea of responsibilities to particular individuals. According to Kant and Mill, moral obligations are not fundamentally particularistic in this way because they are rooted in universal moral principles. Mill and Kant are both philosophers whom have made great impact on their

Society Must be Governed by Rules

1719 words - 7 pages consequences of every possible action. In other words, society only has to decide what rules to follow. Thus, Rule Utilitarianism is also superior to Kant's deontological ethics, which also governs behavior through rules; however, Kant's rules are defined as to whether or not they are universal, not whether or not they create the greatest good for the greatest number. Rule Utilitarianism is a successful hybrid of Utilitarianism and Kant's

Similar Essays

Kantian Ethics Vs. Utilitarianism Essay

1184 words - 5 pages 1.     Explain Onora O’neil’s argument for preferring Kantian ethics to Utilitarianism. 2.     How would Richard Taylor respond to O’neil’s defense of Kantianism? In the following questions, Onora O’neil defends Kantian ethics while Richard Taylor agrees more with the Utilitarian ethics view. To fully understand both views and why each author defends their view, a brief introduction of each

Utilitarianism, Economics And Ethics Essay

1751 words - 7 pages . “The state is based on……the contradiction between public and private life, between universal and particular interests. For this reason, the state must confine itself to formal, negative activities.”(Marx, 1992). This essay focuses on the issues of a prominent theory, Utilitarianism as it blends and encompasses both areas of Economics and Ethics which have become the basis of our governmental bodies. In Utilitarianism the aim of our actions is

Leadership And Ethics Course, Through Military Discussing Ethical Decisions As They Relate To Utilitarian Teleologist, Kantian Deontologist And Decision Making,.

3080 words - 12 pages is that of a Kantian Deontologist (KD) who's reasoning would be to follow the order to evacuate, leaving them there. Their ethical reasoning is related directly to performance of their duty, following orders given to them by command and not of an emotional feeling. Kantian is derived from the philosopher Immanuel Kant whose ethics are founded on rationality as the higher good, and that people are rational beings. When making a decision you must

Normative Ethics: Utilitarianism And Deontology: Module 1 <Tab/>Case Assignment<Tab/>

1375 words - 6 pages I. IntroductionShould a CEO personally go to jail? I believe that if you're in that role and that's your job, I'd say absolutely. I'd expect that you would have the information available to you. It doesn't mean that others don't have functional responsibilities, but it would be expected of someone in that position. I believe that it all comes from the top. The CEO sets the tone for ethics and integrity, and the corporate culture should include